Monthly Archive:: April 2013

Vote Early, Vote Often! Facebook members please support SafetyBeltSafe USA

Dear Friend,

We are excited to announce that the SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. project, Safe and Green, was selected in the top 200 out of 3000 nationwide proposals to compete for a grant of $25,000. Only 40 of the 200 will receive the funds, based on votes by Facebookusers. The project is important for protecting children and young adults from their major killer AND protecting the environment from a deluge of expired, unusable safety seats in landfills.

We are asking for your help in mobilizing the largest network of Facebook voters possible. The task is to go to:


and vote 10 times (it just takes a minute) every day from April 4th (today) to April 22nd. We also need you to send this request to everyone you know who might be a Facebook user OR be willing to establish a Facebook page (my husband has done this!) in order to vote. And be consistent–vote at the same time every day, if possible, so you don’t miss a single day, including April 22, when you must vote before 8:59 pm West Coast time.

Safe and Green has three objectives which intertwine: 1) publicize how to determine if used safety seats can be passed on to a friend or relative; 2) encourage the financially stressed to approach distribution programs for new seats, rather than accepting used seats of unknown background; and 3) move unusable seats—those exposed to crashes, with non-repairable recalls, missing key parts, and/or expired or simply too old–to a recycler that will recycle the components properly, not send them to the landfill. Part of the last objective is to build a network of drop-off points throughout Los Angeles County and other cities near Pomona where TMC Horizon, the only area recycler we’ve found totally committed to this goal, is located.

The funding is needed for outreach to programs serving three key populations: low-income clients; cultural communities who are likely to hand down safety seats to friends and relatives as casually as they would clothing; and families with a strong commitment to recycling. We have made a start, especially in the Long Beach area where Danny Luna of Miller Children’s Hospital and Megan Arce & Tamara Garcia of Car Seat Savvy have created a multi-site drop-off network and are eagerly seeking to expand the numbers of sites.

We have the enthusiastic support of Gayle Anderson of KTLA Morning News, who covered the introduction of the program last fall and expects to cover the update on Earth Day, April 22. Help us to make this a memorable demonstration project which can be a model for efforts around the nation.

Thank you. Stephanie Tombrello, Executive Director, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.

Ride Safer 3 Travel Vest Review

The Ride Safer 3 Travel Vest is the continuation in the line of travel vests from Safe Traffic System, Inc. It’s an alternative form of child restraint for situations where traditional carseats or belt positioning boosters may not work, such as narrow 3-across situations, air travel, grandparents’ vehicles, or infrequent carpools. The travel vest is lightweight and highly portable, which makes it popular as a vacation “seat.”



Small: 30-60 lbs., 34-52”, and at least 3 years of age

Large: 50-80 lbs., 45-57”


  • Adjustable height straps on back for better fit
  • Adjustable buckle
  • Easy to take with you on trips with the CARES harness
  • Weighs just
  • Highly Portable


Ride Safer 2 vs. Ride Safer 3

There are two versions of the Ride Safer Travel Vest: version 2 and version 3. The main difference between the two is that ver. 3 is for vehicles with lap/shoulder belts only. Essentially, you will only be using the Ride Safer (RS) with newer vehicles, so it makes a great vest for traveling with if you’ll be using rental cars since they turn their fleets over so quickly. The RS2 can also be used with a lap-only belt and when used with one, requires the use of a tether. The RS3 takes all the guesswork out of how to use the vest: you use it with a lap/shoulder belt only. No muss, no fuss with tethers or crotch belts. As usual, a picture explains things better.

Britax Pavilion Convertible Carseat Review – Another impressive option in the Britax lineup!

Here at CarseatBlog we’ve already reviewed most of the Britax convertibles currently available so we were interested in taking an in-depth look at the Pavilion to see how it compared to its siblings – Roundabout 55, Marathon, Boulevard & Advocate. The Pavilion is the replacement for the previous generation Boulevard 70 CS. The CS designation stands for “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator, a feature that helps parents and caregivers to understand how snug the harness should be. The harness adjuster actually clicks and you can feel it “pop” (for lack of a better explanation) when the harness is adequately tensioned. It’s not a perfect system because it’s possible to trick the indicator with a bulky winter coat or with slack left in the hip straps of the 5-point harness. However, it’s still a great concept and if it helps some parents and caregivers to do a better job tightening the harness sufficiently then it’s a valuable and worthwhile feature.

Since there are many different new-generation Britax convertibles currently available with different features and different price-points, we should probably start this review off with a list summarizing the main differences.

  • Britax Roundabout:  This is the most budget-friendly Britax convertible.  It lacks the no-rethread harness found on all the other models but that’s really not a big deal unless you’re frequently transporting kids of different sizes in one carseat. It also lacks HUGS pads and the G4 upgrades.
  • Britax Marathon:  This model has a no-rethread harness and the G4 upgrades but it lacks the new HUGS pads and the deeper headwings found on the Boulevard, Pavilion & Advocate models.
  • Britax Boulevard: This model has all the features of the Marathon but also has deeper headwings for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes.
  • Britax Pavilion: All the features of the Boulevard plus the “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator.
  • Britax Advocate: All the features of the Pavilion plus Britax’s exclusive Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT).

All the new “G4″ convertibles come with an included infant insert cushion (required for babies under 22 lbs.), optional harness strap covers, the EZ buckle pad and rubbery HUGS chest pads which are mandatory when the seat is installed forward-facing.

An anti-rebound bar is now available for all Britax G3/G4 convertibles. It is available as an accessory (for purchase separately) directly from Britax.

Britax Pavilion g4 with ARB

The pattern shown in this review is called “Sophia”.  There are several Britax fashions available for the Pavilion if “Sophia” isn’t your cup of tea. MSRP for the Pavilion is $339.99 but you can usually find much better prices online.


What Are The Risks?

Parents worry.  We worry about the latest flu bug.  Worry about keeping household cleaners and other poisons out of the reach of our young kids.  Worry about a child getting a hold of matches.  Worry about SIDS.  Worry about falls on stairways.  Worry about handguns and assault weapons at schools or even from under a mattress at home.  Most parents spend the necessary time protecting their babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers from a host of potential dangers.  Unfortunately, for some children, the amount of time worrying about traveling in a car literally stops when the caregiver buys a carseat and quickly belts it into their vehicle.  Even then, perhaps only because it’s required by law, up to age 8 in most states.  Should they care more, or is it just another case of nanny state interference?

I did a quick inquiry of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISQARS database on the leading causes of death.  For the most recent decade of data, 2001- 2010, I took a look at the top killers of children ages 1 to 8 years old.  Here’s what I found:

#1 cause of death overall: Motor Vehicle Traffic, 8,640 deaths

#2 cause of death overall: Malignant Neoplasms, 7,745 deaths

#2 cause of death from unintentional injury: Drowning, 5,697 deaths

Some Other causes of untintentional fatal injury combined:  Fires/burns (3,123), suffocation (1,682) , falls (520),  poisoning (438) , influenza (1,651), firearms (278 unintentional + 859 homicide).  Total = 8,551 deaths.

ALL other causes from unintentional injury combined, other than motor vehicle crashes, drowning and fires: Total = 6,692 deaths.

As you can see, car crashes take more lives than many other causes of fatal injury, combined!  The numbers are staggering in comparison, yet we never hear about outbreaks, sprees or epidemics of car crashes.  Sadly, the #1 killer claims its victims quietly, one, two or three young lives at a time.  There are rarely front page stories.  There are no headlines on the six o’clock national news.  Yet, this killer continues to claim the lives of more children each year than all the causes that mainstream media fear mongers place daily into every worrying parent’s mind.  Most of these deaths are to children who are not using an appropriate child restraint at all.  Misuse contributes to injuries for many of those who are using a child restraint system.

The vaccine is proven.  The CDC calls the fight against this killer, “A winnable battle.”  The effectiveness of this vaccine varies from 54% for children to 71% for infants.  So, why do many parents choose not to protect their children, according to best practices set by the pediatricians that  they trust?  We wish we knew!  Some argue against these safest practices, citing a variety of reasons why the burden is simply to great.  We think the burden is essentially nothing at all in terms of time, hassle or money, especially compared to the burden of having a child become a statistic.

What do you think?  Possible cure to a quiet epidemic?  Or is your freedom to parent your child being unfairly restricted by the government?  Is keeping your toddler rear-facing too expensive or too time-consuming?  Or do you try to follow the advice of major organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the NHTSA or Safe Kids USA?  When you are with other moms or dads, does talking about carseat safety elicit the same interest as school shootings or the latest flu strain?